Monday, October 24, 2016

Behind the Title of The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson + Giveaway (US/Can only)

The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness 
Maddie Dawson

Three women, three lives, and one chance to become a family... whether they want to or not.

Newly orphaned, recently divorced, and semiadrift, Nina Popkin is on a search for her birth mother. She’s spent her life looking into strangers’ faces, fantasizing they’re related to her, and now, at thirty-five, she’s ready for answers.

Meanwhile, the last thing Lindy McIntyre wants is someone like Nina bursting into her life, announcing that they’re sisters and campaigning to track down their mother. She’s too busy with her successful salon, three children, beautiful home, and... oh yes, some pesky little anxiety attacks.

But Nina is determined to reassemble her birth family. Her search turns up Phoebe Mullen, a guarded, hard-talking woman convinced she has nothing to offer. Gradually sharing stories and secrets, the three women make for a messy, unpredictable family that looks nothing like Nina pictured... but may be exactly what she needs. Nina’s moving, ridiculous, tragic, and transcendent journey becomes a love story proving that real family has nothing to do with DNA.

How I Came Up with The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness's Title

Funny thing about titles. Some of them slip into your head before you’ve got the book barely outlined—and others are rascals who won’t reveal themselves even when the publisher is ready to print.

The title of my new book, The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness, showed up one day about two months after I’d been immersed in writing the book, popping into my head fully formed. (Thank you, title!) I knew it was going to be the title because the book is about a woman, Nina Popkin, who was adopted as a baby, and has spent her whole life obsessed with finding out who she belonged to and why they gave her away. She was raised as an only child by a quiet older couple who seemed amazed at their good fortune in having a child bestowed upon them, and whom, she says, wouldn’t be able to bear it if they knew Nina wondered who her birth mother was.

But Nina is envious of everybody else’s family life; she imagines that once she reunites with her birth mother, she’ll find a whole trove of relatives she can love: aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, and she’ll at last be happy. Maybe she’ll even be able to figure out why, at thirty-five, she can’t seem to settle down with one guy and start her own family.

Once her adoptive mother dies, Nina starts her search for her birth mother in earnest, hoping that she’ll at last find the answers that will solve everything for her. When she discovers that she has a biological sister, she is sure that the two of them will be best friends who will search together for their mom. But her sister, Lindy, has a different perspective: she was adopted into a busy household with six kids and a critical mother, and now she’s married and has three kids, a possibly philandering husband, a complicated business, and the last thing she needs is another mom, especially one who gave her away.

The book features all kinds of families: intact ones, adoptive ones, biological ones, step-families, as well as those dealing with fresh betrayal and abandonment. Nina finds herself drawn into the life of one of her real estate clients—Carter Sanborn, a divorced man with two teenage children, who is looking for a place to live now that he’s been granted temporary custody of the children. As she continues to search for her mother and try to make friends with her sister, she finds herself falling in love with the one man she considered too old, too discombobulated, and too conventional for her tastes... and yet, could he and his family turn out to be the family she’s always sought?

When her search for her mom turns up surprising results, Nina has to rethink every fantasy she had what family really means. The human heart has the uncanny ability to adapt and embrace the unknown, and Nina’s journey is one of tossing out her old idealistic definitions of family and seeing that DNA may have nothing to do with love at all.

About the Author

Maddie Dawson grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers. Her various careers as a substitute English teacher, department-store clerk, medical-records typist, waitress, catsitter, wedding-invitation-company receptionist, nanny, day-care worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco maker were made bearable by thinking up stories as she worked.

Today she lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband. She’s the bestselling author of four previous novels: The Opposite of Maybe, The Stuff That Never Happened, Kissing Games of the World, and A Piece of Normal.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Maddie's question in the comments below:
What would you say to a friend who is adopted who wants to find her birth family? Are there pitfalls you would want to warn him or her about?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Maddie and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Lake Union!
Giveaway ends November 7th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!